Plus size model and body activist Vanessa B Agaba has encouraged society to embrace and celebrate women of all body sizes and shapes instead of criticizing them.
Having grown up with a lot of body insecurities, the model said she was very shy as a teenager and often felt very bad about how she looked.
“In high school, I didn't like my body because of the changes I was experiencing. My butt kept on growing bigger that I would cover up myself. I kept on comparing myself to my friends and wished to look like them. I also never liked taking pictures because of the perception I had that I wasn't good looking. But the turning point came along at university when I got a bad breakup,” she confessed.
“It wasn't until I got a broken heart that I realised I'd gained a lot of weight. So I worked out for three months and one day got a call to model lingerie. When the pictures came out, I was astonished at how I looked and it's been two years now that I’ve walked the journey of self love.”
When Crystal inquired about whether Agaba had ever decided to yield to the pressure around her by trying to ‘fix’ her body, she went on to say, “After university, I tried working out and dieting; but it wasn't working for me. It couldn't make me love and appreciate myself for who I was. Plus I couldn't manage the dieting because I couldn't deny myself good food!”
Crystal, on the other hand, said that sometimes it's family members that body shame and make one feel uncomfortable. “I had an auntie who used to always remind me of how I have my grandmother’s breasts and made it look like a bad thing. But luckily someone applauded me and told me that it's the only body I’ll ever have so I must enjoy and love it.”
In agreement, Agaba said that women need to be celebrated and told that they are beautiful because if they aren't hearing this from people around them, it reduces their self-esteem and confidence.
“There are a lot of negative messages about plus size women, so I started my body campaign called ‘I AM.’ It is an affirmative one that seeks to empower women and myself that we look good and are enough. I had to affirm to myself that I am beautiful and do not need to change myself just to fill other people’s tastes.”
Vanessa went to add, “Everyday I wake up in the morning and say affirmations to myself, and this has greatly helped me appreciate my body as I help build other women’s self confidence. Plus size women need to know and accept that they feel beautiful from within before they are told, and I want to spread this positive message.
I want women to share their stories, tell me about what they love about themselves because there’s a lot of hate talk and we need to try the love talk. My campaign is on social media and those who want to take part can follow me on my social media;on Instagram its ‘Ms savage’ and on Twitter its ‘Mssavage256.’ ”
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